Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2005 Issue

The Old Southwest and a Few of Its Characters from Almagre Books

R0405

The Southwest, and further south, from Almagre Books.


By Michael Stillman

Almagre Books'
List 59A offers a collection of books about the American Southwest, along with South and Central America. The official title is New Mexico, Texas, and the Southwest. Mexico and Latin America. You might wonder how a collection of this sort ended up in the hands of a Bloomington, Indiana, bookseller. So do I. However, it doesn't really matter. If you find books from this area of interest, and I admit to being partial to the American Southwest, Almagre has over 500 to offer. You should definitely take a look. Here are a few, with a focus on those in the English language (many of the texts offered are in Spanish).

Item 123 has the innocent enough heading Headquarters, Dept. of New Mexico, Fort Craig, N.M. March 13th, 1862. General Order No. 18. This is a series of court-martials of New Mexico Volunteers following the Battle of Valverde. Texian troops were proceeding north along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, hoping to capture much of the West for the Confederacy. Union forces at Fort Craig, under Colonel E.R.S. Canby, were initially successful in intercepting the invaders. However, the Confederates battled back, and the Union forces were forced to retreat. Col. Canby blamed the defeat on New Mexico Volunteers. It was charged that they fled, instead of supplying other forces with assistance. Others feel responsibility for the defeat should lay with Canby himself, and that the volunteers, mostly ethnic Mexicans, were an easy target. Those convicted in the court-martial were sentenced to be shot to death, but most sentences were reduced to ten years imprisonment. Meanwhile, the Texans skirted Fort Craig, overran Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and headed for Fort Union in northern New Mexico. There, Union troops and Colorado volunteers held them at bay until, supplies destroyed, the Confederates were forced to retreat all the way back to Texas. Confederate dreams for the West died. This 1862 official printing is priced at $950.

William Ruschenberger was a naval surgeon, writer and scientist who served 38 years in the U.S. Navy. Somehow along the way, he found time to write several books about his voyages. Item 102 is not one of his books, but a letter he wrote to Jean Jacques Smith back in the states while stationed with the "Independence" in Valparaiso, Chile. The date is February 27, 1855, and Ruschenberger was making his first visit to Chile after an absence of many years. He laments, "I have just returned from a walk on shore very sad, for I find none of my old friends among the Chilians; I ask for my old sweethearts, those I saw last some seventeen years since; they are all dead, or gone off as mothers and grand mothers...." It's just as well. Better to remember them as they were seventeen years ago. Ruschenberger points out that prices have skyrocketed since he left, attributing it to wealth obtained from the California Gold Rush. He also notes that the newspapers are saying the "Yankees" are seeking to annex the entire Pacific coast, "from California to Tierra del Fuego" (the southern tip of South America). The fears must have seemed real, as the U.S. had taken California and the American Southwest from Mexico only a few years before. In a positive development, he points out that the law now imposes a fifty cent fine on anyone caught urinating on the outside of a house. A few of our cities might take heed. Item 102. $500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Daniel Giraud Elliot. <i>A Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants,</i> 1870-1872, coloured plates. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Georg Braun und Franz Hogenberg. <i>Civitates orbis terrarum.</i> Cologne, 1597-c.1606, 5 volumes, hand-coloured, calf. £140,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Qianren Huang. "Blue Map" of China. [Daoguang, 19th century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Abraham Ortelius. <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1595. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Maxime Du Camp. <i>Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie. Dessins Photographiques.</i> Paris, 1852. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>China, Canton School. A superb album of 141 watercolours, c.1800. £70,000 to £100,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions